Understanding Ectopic Pregnancy

When a woman becomes pregnant, the conditions she is in have to be perfect, otherwise the baby could be lost. One of these "imperfect" conditions is when the baby is implanted in other places other than the uterus. This is called an ectopic pregnancy.

Facts about ectopic pregnancy

The most common forms of ectopic pregnancies are when the baby implants are found in the fallopian tubes. It is reported that more than 95% of ectopic pregnancies are implants in the fallopian tubes.

However, there are extremely rare cases wherein the baby is implanted somewhere else other than the uterus or the fallopian tubes.

These ectopic pregnancies are called "abdominal pregnancies" because the baby implants in other areas in the abdomen with good blood supply such as the liver. Experts say that the chances of an abdominal pregnancy occurring and going to term are less than 1 in a million.

Risks of an ectopic pregnancy

The risks of an ectopic pregnancy occurring and being allowed to progress are extremely high – even fatal, for the mother. As for the baby, there is no chance of it surviving.

"Tubal" ectopic pregnancies are often terminated because the risks are too great. There are no medical procedures and technologies available yet that could remove the implanted baby from the fallopian tubes and replace it in the uterus.

There is no chance of an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy developing up to the point where the baby could be delivered alive. The fallopian tubes simply do not have enough room for the baby to grow. If not terminated, the fallopian tubes would burst before the end of the first trimester.

Ectopic pregnancies and other conditions 

If this happens, the mother’s life would be in danger, and there is no way to save the baby either. This is the leading cause of maternal death during pregnancy. Doctors either perform surgery to terminate the pregnancy or prescribe medication to the mother that would induce pregnancy termination.

As for abdominal pregnancies, they could, in theory, go to term, but at extremely high risks. The mother could suffer from major hemorrhage and blood loss during delivery.

Abdominal pregnancies are more dangerous than tubal pregnancies. Mothers are eight times more likely to die after an abdominal pregnancy than after a tubal pregnancy.